by Maureen Fitzmahan
Momento mori – “remember that you have to die.” Momento mori is an interesting facet of the still life genre. The artist often places a skull in his still life among other symbols of life and death.
I must admit I find much of what I have seen in this genre to be quite disturbing. Late 20th and 21st artists like to shock, so there are a lot of images that make me feel very uncomfortable if not disgusted. I don’t like slasher movies or horror movies. I don’t like violence (just murder mysteries without the blood and gore, thank you).
But, in the better pieces of art that represent this genre there are elements of spirit, poignancy, deep truths. These pieces are also aesthetically beautiful. Death and beauty. A powerful combination.